Residents of flood-evacuated Merritt, B.C., were allowed to return to their community on Tuesday.
However, the return migration proved to be a trickle, with around 2,000 residents allowed to go home, and not a sudden rush.
“We’re excited to be home,” Merritt resident Tosha Illingworth told Global News, even though she wasn’t sure what she’d be returning to.
Illingworth said the flood profoundly affected Merritt, noting that “our community isn’t the same anymore. Lots of people lost their homes and there’s lots of rebuilding that needs to be done.
Last week, residents of the community of 7,000 were forced to flee due to sudden flooding.
That flooding overwhelmed the local waste-water system and resulted in drinking water being contaminated.
Merritt has a three-phase plan in allowing residents to return home, starting with those who still have electric, gas and internet services.
Residents who returned home on Tuesday are on evacuation alert and there is a boil water notice in place. They are also being asked to limit water consumption.
“We’re absolutely delighted that we’ve been able to rescind the evacuation order for a small section of the city,” said Greg Lowis, Merritt information officer.
City officials said they expect more residents to return on Thursday, but have to first confirm that there will be enough water for everyone.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.